This project aimed to support indigenous peoples and forest communities to realise their rights and be part of the political decision-making processes that affect their lives and the ones of their children. Communities in the Congo Basin often lack legal recognition, with indigenous groups in particular facing systemic discrimination. Unable to effectively negotiate or assert their rights, local communities often face heavy restrictions on everything from occupying land to using natural resources.
Community legal field workers understand community challenges at the legal level and are able to support communities in claiming their basic civil and political rights, non-discrimination, as well as their rights in relation to forest lands and resources. By helping forest communities and indigenous peoples realise their rights, they can better participate in forest management and affect decision-making processes to
improve their living conditions.
This project began in 2013 in Selva Central and Vilcabamba range, Peru. Communal reserves offer indigenous communities the ability to manage their own land, empowering them and offering them better security. However, in Peru, communities are not yet receiving these benefits. It has been over 10 years since it was implemented and still so far has failed to bring indigenous peoples the benefits it promised - instead it is actually preventing them from asserting their rights and manage their traditional areas.
There are 10 communal reserves covering approximately 5 million acres of the Amazonian rainforest of Peru. However, this model is not delivering concrete results to local communities. Moreover it precludes them from asserting their rights while extractive industries are operating without serious supervision from the authorities.